Coffs Harbour captive dolphins swim closer to a sea sanctuary


Zippy, Bella and Jet – the three remaining captive dolphins in New South Wales are closer to being moved to a sea sanctuary after a parliamentary inquiry recommended that the NSW Government should support plans for the dolphins’ new home.

*Update: Together with Action for Dolphins and Coffs Coast Wildlife Sanctuary we have mutually agreed to no longer work on pursuing a dolphin sanctuary in the Coffs Harbour. Read more.

The NSW Parliamentary inquiry into the use of exotic animals in circuses and the exhibition of cetaceans in NSW today recommended that the NSW Government provide support to the Action for Dolphins and World Animal Protection, to enable the completion of a feasibility study into relocating the dolphins at the marine park to a sea sanctuary.

Thanks to your support, we've been working with DMCP and Action for Dolphins since 2018 on a feasibility study into a sea sanctuary solution for Zippy, Bella and Jet.

Sea sanctuary

Head of Campaigns at World Animal Protection, Ben Pearson said:

 “We are thrilled the inquiry has recommended the government fund a continuation of the sea sanctuary feasibility study.

“A sanctuary would be a win for the dolphins, a win for DMCP’s employees and a win for Coffs Harbour.

“Dolphins can live up to 50 years in captivity, so we are hopeful Zippy, Bella and Jet will live out their years in a larger and more natural environment.

“This will be the best available outcome for the dolphins, as they cannot be released into the wild.”

Now, we’re calling on the NSW Government to immediately accept the inquiry recommendations, so the current feasibility study of the sanctuary can be finalised.

In our submission to the inquiry, we outlined that the sea sanctuary could also serve as a rescue and rehabilitation facility for wild dolphins and other injured animals.

Such a sanctuary would be among the first in the world established for captive dolphins, and a tourist drawcard for Coffs Harbour, as well as a generator of jobs and economic development.

The inquiry also recommended stronger limitations on the breeding of dolphins, asking the government to consider restricting it to conservation or protection purposes. This would rule out the breeding of further dolphins for entertainment in NSW.

With our supporters’ help we, along with Action for Dolphins and World Cetacean Alliance have publicly campaigned for a ban on captive dolphin breeding in Australia for years.

Now that DMCP has stopped breeding dolphins, Sea World on the Gold Coast is the only venue in Australia where captive breeding still takes place.

Last year, Canada banned dolphin captivity and breeding, and in September, the French Government announced that dolphin breeding would no longer be allowed at marine parks.

Another positive recommendation of the inquiry is that the NSW Government should provide financial assistance for DMCP’s rescue and rehabilitation work.

Thank you, together we are moving the world to protect animals. 

We’re calling on the NSW Government to immediately accept the inquiry recommendations, so the current feasibility study of the sanctuary can be finalised.

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